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the house cat part of my heart

Emily Dickinson wrote: “The soul should always stand ajar.” This is true, and not without risk.

There are a couple of songbirds hopping around on the carpet floor looking for crumbs left by travelers in the Denver airport. These are instances of wildness seeking scraps of domesticity to fill their little bellies.

I got here early and found a seat by the wall of windows at the gate where my flight will depart. Through them I can see the snow melt on the tarmac and feel the seep of sunlight on my skin. This is me, in a domestic terminal, seeking scraps of wildness to fill me up during an indoor day.

I heard a local Boulder story about a mountain lion who crawled through an open window and had an unfortunate run-in with her domestic kin. Living with openness to the wild world threatens the security assured by a sealed-off existence.

Predator invasions aside, even the most housed of cats (I have one, I know) scramble outside, as often as they’re able, before the screen door shuts. They rush from their sealed existence into the open-skied world where hawks loom and under which lions prowl.

When this happens I go out and collect her before she becomes a meal, or makes one out of our neighborhood songbirds. I bring her back in for a nap. And I welcome her reminder that the house cat part of my heart is never all the way safe from the allure of wildness.

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